A Little More about USM's Economic Development Program
Since I posted my entry on the Economic Development program at the University of Southern Mississippi and the megahype that surrounds it, informed sources have provided me with several additions and corrections.
First, I was incorrect in stating that Ken Malone, the Department Chair, spends 100% of his time doing administration. He has taught a Finance course in the program.
Second, Richard Hadden, whose terminal degree is an MD, could not have taught any courses in Ecomomic Development during his first year at USM. That's because Economic Development was in the College of Business until October 2004, and Hadden was not admitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Business and Economic Development. In other words, professors in the Business disciplines did not deem him qualified to teach any graduate-level courses in Economic Development.
The standards set by the AACSB, the accrediting body for Business Schools, set requirements for the percentage of the workload in Business programs that is carried by"academically qualified" and"professionally qualified" faculty members. For definitions, requirements, and examples, see the AACSB Business accreditation standards (pages 38-48).
According to these standards, Ken Malone is neither academically nor professionally qualified to teach Finance. It's doubtful that he would be considered qualified to teach anything in an Economic Development program, as he has published nothing in the area, and his professional experience before being hired by USM was basically as a chemist. Richard Hadden is not academically qualified to teach anything in the program, and his professional qualifications, even to teach a course about high-tech startups, were not considered sufficient by his former colleagues in the College of Business. Cecil Burge, the present VP for Research and Economic Development, is an Electrical Engineering PhD who taught Computer Science for many years, and has done software quality consulting in industry. By AACSB standards, he, too, is neither academically nor professionally qualified.
That leaves two members of the Economic Development department who actually do a lot of faculty work. I'm reasonably sure that David Butler would be considered academically qualified on account of his publications, even though his graduate degrees are in Geography. Judson Edwards, of course, is not academically qualified, because his PhD comes from... USM's Economic Development program, which has never been accredited by the AACSB. He does have a few months of professional experience, as an economic development official for a city government.
So out of 5 Economic Development faculty listed by USM, 1 is academically qualified and 1 may be professionally qualified by AACSB standards. Not to mention the fact that the enrollment numbers projected by Butler and Malone, at 9 masters students and 13 doctoral students per faculty member, are way out of line with anything that would be considered acceptable by the AACSB.
No wonder Shelby Thames' pet program had to be whisked out of the College of Business"and Economic Development." No wonder it is being widely referred to as a"PhD mill."
Happy New Year, everyone, and stay tuned.
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William J. Stepp - 3/12/2006
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